Yoga Inspires Change.
Over the last 15 years of spiritual practice, I can honestly say the single most important Yogic lesson I have learned is:
To Create a Change, we have to Change Something.
The result of our choices is constantly creating new unique personal alchemies. This is how yoga transforms us. It is about taking the personal growth we experience on the mat into making the changes we want in our lives. Anytime you want to transform and move beyond your limitations, to me, this is the Alchemy of Yoga.
We all form habits as we go through life. Yoga teaches us that even our good habits keep us from growing spiritually. This is because habits are by definition an attachment to a pattern of behavior, or a form of dependence. So a key principle of yoga is to break our both our mental and physical attachments. This includes not just our attachments to material objects (like needing chocolate to be happy), but also attachments to only seeing things in one way or repeating the same thoughts over and over expecting a different result, which by the way is the textbook definition of insanity. Yoga gives us a chance to examine our behavioral patterns and realize that our habits, even the good ones, keep us stuck. Only then can we begin to break those attachments to allow true spiritual transformation to begin. Alex Levin puts it like this, “habits allow us to not think about what we’re doing . . . giving us the illusion of ease. When we are under the illusion of ease, not thinking about what we’re doing. Breathing the same old way, moving the same old way, thinking the same old way we check out of the present, out of happiness itself.”
This constant alchemical experimentation allows you to find your best Yoga. The yoga that teaches it is possible to change the old paradigm and instead choose happiness in a new way every day. You change your habits and all of sudden you see yourself, your potential, your life in a whole new way. And the changes we experience in how we think go with us way beyond class. The ripples are deep, extraordinary and long-lasting.
Trying to change our perspective on ourselves is not easy. After all, the way we think mirrors how we see our lives. Yogically this process of self-reflection is known as vichara. It starts by asking outside the box questions to change the habits of our minds. Habits keep us from living up to our potential as we get stuck in seeing things just one way.
There are many things both big and small you can do that make a difference. First start by thinking about what you can do close to home within the next 24 hours and then expand from there. Here are some suggestions to stoke your creativity. As Thoreau writes, “This world is but a canvas to our imagination.”
1. Eat the unusual thing. Instead of choosing the same thing you always eat for lunch or dinner, try a new alternative.
2. Cook something new. Try cooking a new recipe. Or experiment with an old recipe by adding something unexpected.
3. Mix up your music. Try some new music; especially something you wouldn’t normally listen to.
4. Work in complete silence. Shut the door to your office, turn off the tv and music, and focus on the task at hand while enjoying the silence.
5. Take a day off from the Internet. Lighten up your media diet by going Internet-free days on either a Saturday or Sunday. It’s a wonderful change of pace.
6. Photograph something from a fresh angle. Instagrammers/Casual Photographers trying taking something you’ve photographed before or something new and try out some new angles. For instance, instead of staying at eye-level get down lower or climb up above and shoot from top to bottom. Lie on your back and shoot up. Get closer than usual
7. Take a different route. To work or to school. To your gym or home. See something new even in transit.
8. Sit in a new place. If you have favorite chair or part of the sofa where you always sit, choose another place to sit today. In yoga class, try putting your mat down in a different part of the room. Says George Eliot, “It is a narrow mind which cannot look at a subject from various points of view.”
9. Change your passwords to something positive. Make your password the same as the intention you are manifesting. Make it count for something
10. Travel somewhere new. I lead about 11 annual Yoga Retreats/Mulit-sport Adventures with Alchemy Tours which offer you travel opportunities all over the world to help you change your perspective and get a new view of your life. John Lubbock writes, “What we see depends mainly on what we look for.” Travel helps to transform us because what we see is different than where we’ve been already.
Ultimately, refreshing what we imagine in the realm of possibiity on the inside colors and creates the outside reality. As Einstein puts it, “the ancestor to every action is a thought.” In the laboratory of our minds it is vitally important to be engaged in the experiments of life like the best alchemists so we can develop new forumulas and gain a new perspective. This can be, like meditation, “the soul’s perspective glass.” Get reinspired: Let’s Play, Transform, Evolve!
Love yourself, love your day, love your life!